The blogosphere is in an uproar. Here is what went down:
Yost at The M Zone posted his own version of the infamous Wonderlic test about three weeks ago.
Later, E.S.P.N. Radio's Colin Cowherd quoted Yost's posting verbatim on the air without giving proper credit to the source of his material.
When this was brought to Cowherd's attention, his response was: "WE HAD NO IDEA..BUT THE INCESSANT WHINING...MEANS I WON'T GIVE YOU CREDIT NOW..GET OVER IT." Apparently, the E.S.P.N. Radio host is unfamiliar with the maxim that, if you write an e-mail with the caps lock on, that's an e-mail you don't need to send.
Regrettably, video did not, in fact, kill the radio star.
Yost is outraged and he isn't the only one. Here is what I wrote to George Solomon, E.S.P.N.'s ombudsman:
I hope this message finds you doing well. I am writing, as many have before me, to express my concern over Colin Cowherd's recent actions, both on the air and off.
As you are aware, Mr. Cowherd recently read extensive excerpts of a lengthy posting from a weblog known as "The M Zone," for which he failed to cite the source. This, I believe, was an honest mistake on his part; it appears that the posting came to him through a message board and he simply did not know at the time that he read it that it needed proper attribution.
Certainly, this was a forgivable error which was easily correctable. All Mr. Cowherd needed to do was make mention of the actual source on a subsequent broadcast and the problem would have been solved. No lengthy apology was required, but simply an acknowledgment and correction of the oversight.
Where Mr. Cowherd crossed the line was in his insolent and condescending response to an e-mail from the authors of The M Zone, who bought this lapse to his attention. While those webloggers might have stated their case more graciously in the first instance, nothing in their e-mail to Mr. Cowherd warranted anything like the flippant, dismissive, and disrespectful response they received.
E.S.P.N. did not become "The Worldwide Leader in Sports" by conducting its business in this manner. Mr. Cowherd's recent actions display a slipshod approach to verifying sources, an undignified disdain for the audience without which he would be out of a job, a remarkable failure of good judgment, and a degree of carelessness and crassness that is so unbecoming as to cast the entire E.S.P.N. family of networks in an exceedingly unfavorable light.
Mr. Cowherd should admit his error, both in his casual approach to providing proper on-air attribution to the actual authors of his material and, much more seriously, in his arrogant harangue against someone he genuinely had slighted. Mr. Cowherd's utter lack of professionalism in this entire sorry episode reflects poorly on him and, if his employer does not take appropriate steps to admonish him, it will reflect poorly on E.S.P.N., as well.
I trust the legitimate complaints of the many sports fans who have contacted you recently will not go unheeded. No one is calling for Colin Cowherd's head to roll, but a modicum of journalistic integrity and the most rudimentary demonstration of good manners are not too much to ask of a man who is, for many thousands of listeners, the daily voice of your network.
I hope I may look forward to the news of Mr. Cowherd's on-air apology to The M Zone, to sports fans in general, and to E.S.P.N. viewers and listeners forthwith. E.S.P.N.'s action (or inaction) in this instance will speak volumes about the Worldwide Leader's respect for its audience and its concern for good customer relations. I trust your reaction will not be a Cowherdly one.
I thank you for your time and attention to this matter.
T. Kyle King
Your support for The M Zone would be appreciated.